The Meaning Behind the Name Achilles A Comprehensive Guide

Are you considering naming your child Achilles, or are you simply curious about its origins and significance? Look no further! In this article, we’ll explore the history and meaning behind the name Achilles, as well as its popularity and cultural references.

What is the Origin of the Name Achilles?

The name Achilles has Greek origins and is derived from the word “akhos,” meaning grief or pain. It is believed to have been popularized by the mythical hero Achilles in Homer’s Iliad, an epic poem that tells the story of the Trojan War. According to legend, Achilles was a warrior who was invincible except for his heel, which became his downfall. Despite his tragic end, Achilles is remembered for his bravery and strength, and his name has therefore become associated with these qualities.

Who Is Associated with the Name Achilles?

As mentioned earlier, the most famous person associated with the name Achilles is the legendary Greek warrior from Homer’s Iliad. However, there have been other notable people throughout history who have borne the name, including:

  • Achilles Tatius: A Greek writer who lived during the 2nd century AD
  • Achilles Fang: A Chinese-American scholar and literary critic
  • Achilles Gasser: A Swiss physician and botanist who lived during the 16th century

What Is the Meaning Behind the Name Achilles Today?

Today, the name Achilles is often associated with strength, courage, and heroism. It is a popular choice for baby names and is especially common in Greece and other parts of Europe. Some parents may choose the name for its classical roots or as a way to honor their own heritage.

Pros and Cons of Choosing the Name Achilles

Like any name, the name Achilles has its pros and cons. Here are some things to consider before choosing this name for your child:


  • It has a strong, heroic connotation
  • It has classical roots and cultural significance
  • It is relatively uncommon, which can make it stand out


  • It may be difficult to pronounce for some people
  • It may be too associated with the mythological character for some parents’ taste
  • It may lead to teasing or bullying due to the character’s tragic fate

How to Choose the Best Middle Name for Achilles

If you’ve decided on the name Achilles for your child, you may be considering what middle name would complement it well. Here are some tips:

  • Consider choosing a more traditional middle name, such as James or Elizabeth, to balance out the uniqueness of Achilles.
  • Look for middle names that have Greek or Latin origins to further tie in with the classical roots of Achilles.
  • Consider using a family name as the middle name to honor a relative or ancestor.

Alternatives to the Name Achilles

If you like the sound and meaning behind the name Achilles but aren’t sold on it, here are some alternative names to consider:

  • Alexander: A Greek name meaning “defender of the people”
  • Leonidas: A Greek name meaning “son of the lion”
  • Hector: A Greek name meaning “steadfast”

Step-by-Step Guide to Pronouncing Achilles

The pronunciation of Achilles can be tricky for non-native speakers. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get it right:

  1. Start with the “ah” sound (like in the word “father”).
  2. Follow with a hard “k” sound.
  3. Next comes the “ill” sound (like in the word “pill”).
  4. Finally, end with an “eez” sound (like in the word “keys”).

To put it all together, the correct pronunciation is “uh-KILL-eez.”

Tips for Naming Your Child Achilles

If you’re considering naming your child Achilles, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Consider the potential impact of the name on your child’s life, including how easy it is to pronounce and spell.
  • Think about the cultural significance and history behind the name and whether it aligns with your personal values.
  • Consider pairing the name with a more traditional or common middle name to balance out its uniqueness.

The Best Ways to Honor Achilles Without Using the Name

If you appreciate the heroic qualities associated with the name Achilles but don’t want to use it for your child, here are some alternative ways to honor the legendary warrior:

  • Choose a different name from Greek mythology, such as Athena or Apollo.
  • Use a name that means “hero,” such as Ethan or Liam.
  • Incorporate elements of the story of Achilles into your child’s nursery decor or clothing, such as using a Trojan horse motif or incorporating the colors of the Greek flag.


The name Achilles has a rich history and cultural significance, making it a popular choice for parents looking for a unique and meaningful name. Whether you ultimately decide to go with Achilles or another option, we hope this guide has providedvaluable insight into the origins, meanings, and pronunciations of this name. Remember to carefully consider all factors when choosing a name for your child, including its cultural significance, potential impact on their life, and how it sounds when paired with a middle and last name.


  1. Is Achilles a popular name today?
    Achilles is not a commonly used name in many parts of the world, but it is more popular in Greece and other European countries.
  1. What are some famous people with the name Achilles?
    Aside from the mythological hero, there have been several notable figures throughout history with the name Achilles, including writers, scholars, and physicians.
  1. What does the name Achilles symbolize?
    The name Achilles is often associated with strength, courage, and heroism due to the legendary character’s depiction in Homer’s Iliad.
  1. How do you pronounce the name Achilles?
    The correct pronunciation is “uh-KILL-eez.”
  1. What are some alternative names to Achilles?
    If you like the sound and meaning behind Achilles but aren’t sold on it, alternative names with similar connotations include Alexander, Leonidas, and Hector.
Emma Carole Paradis

We’re Emma Carole Paradis and Kimberly Carole, the owners and designers of Impeccable Nest, based in Bedford, New Hampshire. A mother-daughter team with a love of design. Originally from Manhattan Beach, California, now based in Bedford, New Hampshire, we bring a Southern California cool and New England tradition to our design. Not only do we work together…we also live together in a multi-generational home…and a home that they are known to design for others.

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